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BPAS responds to NHS trial of over the counter contraceptive pill prescription in London

Published 10 December 2008

Lambeth and Southwark primary care trusts (PCTs) in London will be pilot sites in 2009 for a new service allowing selected specially-trained pharmacists to dispense women the contraceptive pill without the need for a prior GP or family planning clinic prescription, with the aim of reducing unintended pregnancies. If the pilots are successful, the Pill could potentially be made available over- the-counter at pharmacies in the same way as emergency contraception ('the morning-after pill').

Pharmacists will be issued with patient group directions (PGDs) from PCT clinicians making it legal for them to give medicines to appropriate groups of patients without the need for individual GP prescriptions.

Ann Furedi, Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the charity supporting women thousands of women every year with unintended pregnancies, said of the pilot

‘This is an excellent idea that is long over-due. Many of the women we see at BPAS who are concerned about an unintended pregnancy had taken a chance because they ran out of pills and couldn't get a new prescription in time. This initiative makes it easier for women to get their pills, but it also confirms just how safe the method is.’


According to October 2008's Office of National Statistics ONS survey statistics, the contraceptive pill continues to be the most popular form of birth control in the UK. In 2007/08, three-quarters of women in the 16-49 age group surveyed by the ONS reported using some form of contraception. of these, 28 per cent of women used the pill, compared with 24 per cent who relied on the male condom.

For more information or to request an interview please contact the BPAS press office on 020 7612 0206 or 07788 725 185.


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